Grammy-award-nominated singer songwriter/pianist and Pike County, PA native Vanessa Carlton may be focused on preparations for the June 21 release of her new album, “Rabbits on the Run.” But she’s not too busy to share what she does best at an upcoming event in Glen Spey, NY. Why? Because she cares about the issue and wants others to become informed.
That issue is natural gas drilling, and Carlton is hoping to increase awareness of the process and its impacts by performing at a special screening of the new documentary, “FRACK! The Movie.”
The event will take place on April 2 at Mountain View Manor in Glen Spey, NY, where Carlton will play a set featuring some of her established favorites as well as work from her new album, inspired by Richard Adams’ “Watership Down,” and Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time.”
Carlton’s fourth studio album was taped at the world-renowned Real World Studios in Box, England and was created in collaboration with legendary producer Steve Osborne (U2, B-52’s, KT Tunstall), Patrick Hallahan of My Morning Jacket, and Ari Ingber.
Carlton became aware of gas drilling roughly a year-and-a-half ago, when she began reading about it in local papers and saw signs pop up on properties near her parents’ Pike County home. “My family home is sitting on the Marcellus Shale,” said Carlton. “This could be a disaster. It’s my home under attack.”
Carlton contends that “great love for this place where we live” is driving intensive regional activism on its behalf. “It’s a Wonderland here,” she said. “The peaceful woods, the pure water—it’s spiritual, meditative. I write music about it.”
While she maintains that America needs to develop its own energy sources, Carlton wants to see better regulations in place and a shift toward focusing on sustainable energy. “It’s time to close the Halliburton Loophole,” she said. “We need to pay attention and get this right. I hope people come to this event to learn more about the issue and to get the information they need.”
The event is being sponsored by Lumberland Concerned Citizens (LCC). “It’s a great opportunity to become better informed as a community, and will also provide a forum for refining our thoughts and actions as we move ahead with this important work,” said LCC director Peter Comstock.
Also driving Carlton’s desire to participate is her appreciation for the education she received as a student at Glen Spey’s Homestead School and her devotion to its directors, Peter and Marsha Comstock. “They’re my greatest teachers,” said Carlton. “They provide you with the tools to become a responsible and progressive thinker. It’s a very special place with a unique approach that brings out what’s special in each child. It shaped who I am. I remain a curious person to this day as a result.”
Carlton began playing the piano at three years old. At 21, she released her debut album in 2002, “Be Not Nobody.” The single, “A Thousand Miles,” reached the Top 5 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles chart. In 2003, Carlton earned Grammy nominations for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist. The album achieved Gold status in over 10 countries and Platinum status in four countries, including the U.S.
Her second album “Harmonium,” led to an invitation by singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks to fill the opening act slot on Nick’s worldwide tour. Her last release in 2007, “Heroes & Thieves,” garnered some of the best reviews of her career.
The event will begin with a potluck dinner at 5:30 p.m., followed by Carlton’s performance, the film screening and a Q & A session. In addition to Carlton, other special guests will include actor Mark Ruffalo, FRACK director David Morris, representatives from Catskill Mountainkeeper, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability and Dimock, PA residents Julie and Craig Sautner.